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Monday, July 09, 2007

Ozzie Smith

Eligible in 2002.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2007 at 01:29 AM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2007 at 01:33 AM (#2434224)
The greatest defensive shortstop I ever saw, bar none.

That was some fielding the Cards had for a while on the right side of the infield, huh?
   2. OCF Posted: July 09, 2007 at 01:41 AM (#2434238)
I just dredged up a document I wrote to a friend, dated October, 1996. Part of it is one of the few Keltner lists I ever wrote up - a Keltner for Ozzie Smith. In retrospect, some parts of it don't stand up to the scrutiny of the Hall of Merit process. In what follows, the parts of this in brackets are edits that I've made within the last week; the rest of it is as I wrote it over a decade ago.


1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

You'll notice the effect this question will have if we ask it of Barry Bonds. [Yes, I said exactly that in 1996.] In Ozzie's case, the answer has to be that no, it was never a respectable mainstream opinion that he was the best player in baseball. But he was always "rhetorically available" - if you wanted to make a point about the value of defense and about how defense was unappreciated, you could stake out your territory by saying, "I think Ozzie Smith is the best player in baseball."

2. Was he the best player on his team?

When he was in San Diego, he was a teammate of Dave Winfield, and that was Winfield at his best, so clearly not then. In the 1982-84 time frame, the Cardinals had many stars, including Keith Hernandez, Joaquin Andujar, Lonnie Smith, and Bruce Sutter. In the 1985-87 time frame, the Cardinals had Jack Clark and John Tudor and Willie McGee (who won an MVP that I disagree with) and even Tommie Herr who had a big year or two. After that, in the late 80's and early 90's, Ozzie was clearly the best player on the team, but it wasn't a very good team, not until Ray Lankford led a resurgence. However, in retrospect it is not so obvious that Clark or Tudor or McGee or Coleman or Sutter or Hernandez were ever really any more valuable to the team than Ozzie was. Those guys all changed, while Ozzie was the constant element. In retrospect, it's hard to see how the Cardinals could have been a good team in the 80's without him.

3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

The first is a tough question, since Ozzie shared his times with some great slugging shortstops: Yount and Ripken and Trammell, all in the AL. Of course, after a while, Yount wasn't a shortstop any more, and Ripken faded with age (except for his out-of-the-trend-line 1991 MVP year) and I'm not going to concede that Trammell was ever better. [Edit: "ever" is a stronger word than I'd use now. Don't hold me to everything I wrote in 1996.] Trammell had some outstanding hitting years (especially in 1987), but he didn't hit like that every year, and he wasn't all that good as a defensive shortstop. As for the second, easier, question, Ozzie was clearly the best shortstop in the NL for the time between the injury to Dickie Thon at the beginning of the 1984 season until the emergence of Barry Larkin in 1988. For that time, he was actually the best offensive player among NL shortstops. Even before 1984, Ozzie may have been the best NL shortstop. Thon had one great year in 1983, but that's just one year. He never established himself as the best. The man Ozzie was traded for, Garry Templeton, attracted a lot of attention with superficially more impressive offensive statistics, but Ozzie was so unbelievably good on defense in those years that I think he was more valuable than Templeton even before the trade. There's an argument here that Ozzie may have been the best shortstop in the league for a 7 to 9 year period - and that certainly sounds like a Hall of Famer to me.

4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

The Cardinals won pennants in 1982, 1985, and 1987. As I've said, I find it hard to imagine how they could have been that good without Ozzie. In particular, I think that he had a tremendous impact on the 1985 race that is measured not in any of his statistics but in the pitching statistics of John Tudor. Tudor, feeling confident that his fielders would be there to help him out if he challenged the hitters, suddenly blossomed into a great pitcher for a few years. When the Cardinals won again in 1996, Ozzie was only a fringe participant - this is about the 80's.

5. Was he a good enough player that he could continue to play regularly after passing his prime?

Was he? Late in his career, it wasn't just that he was the oldest regular shortstop in the league - he was the oldest regular shortstop in the league by a margin of 10 years. The answer to this one is a slam dunk. In fact, although I am writing this in the belief that Ozzie has retired, he has made occasional suggestions that he might play a little more. If it comes to that, I expect that he could still be useful to a team as a part-time player at the age of 43 or 44.

6. Is he the very best player in baseball history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

[The particular answer I wrote is irrelevant to the HoM - it quoted Palmer/Thorn TPR in part, and used players not relevant to our current task. Of course, in HoM elections, this is essentially the only question we ask.]

7. Are most players who have comparable career statistics in the Hall of Fame?

[This was the single longest section of what I wrote, and it doesn't hold up all that well. I split SS candidates into "glove men" and "stick men" and then used length of career and games played at SS to reject comparisons to guys like Rizzuto, Reese, Bancroft, and so on. In the end, I claimed he was truly comparable to only two players, Aparicio and Maranville, both of whom are in the Hall of Fame, and that furthermore, he was clearly superior to both Aparicio and Maranville. But as neither Aparicio nor Maranville has been elected to the HoM, that argument loses its force here. Furthermore, and somewhat inconveniently, if I keep the same stress on career length, I now have to include Omar Vizquel in the mix.]

8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

Bill James has several different gauges for this, several point systems by which you can add up what somebody has done and compare it to what it usually takes to be in the Hall of Fame. These methods are mostly offense-based, and they are not friendly to Ozzie. Ozzie doesn't have 3,000 hits (or even quite 2,500). Only once in his career did he ever bat .300, only once did he hit 40 doubles, only once did he score 100 runs. He never drove in 100 runs (or even 80), and he didn't hit home runs at all. He never led a league in any offensive category. These systems have some arbitrary counterbalances for playing a key defensive position, for career length, and for participation in All-Star games and postseason play. These systems do show Ozzie as at least being in the gray area - an area in which some players are in the Hall and some aren't. I can say that Ozzie was a useful offensive player - these days, so is Omar Vizquel - but I'll never claim he was a great offensive player. [It feels odd to me that I mentioned Vizquel like that.]

9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

If by that you mean his offensive statistics, the answer is of course he was, because of his defense. [For this audience, I'll add this: his offense was much, much better than his OPS. It's not just that he was OBP-heavy; he was an extreme OBP-over-SLG player, and he was a big-time, highly effective base stealer and an excellent baserunner in general.] If you mean "statistics" to include defensive statistics, then Ozzie's spectacularly good defensive statistics make him a solid candidate to be considered the greatest defensive shortstop ever (with the other candidates belonging to such different eras that they can hardly be compared), in which case the question becomes whether that is fair. Certainly all contemporary observers were overwhelmed by his defense. His name is the gold standard for talking about the defense of a shortstop. The big gun of a hype machine regarding a young shortstop is to call him "the next Ozzie". [They don't call Adam Everett that, do they? Besides, these days people are looking for the next ARod, Jeter, Nomar, Tejada, aren't they?]

10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame but not in?

Well, there's always Robin Yount. Of course, I assume that Yount will be safely inducted before Ozzie's case comes up. And there's Cal Ripken Jr., whose case won't come up until we're done with Ozzie. Other than that, who is there? [I do go on to mention Davis and Dahlen - Davis hadn't been elected yet. Most of this entry has been removed as irrelevant.]

11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, now many times was he close?

Ozzie never won an MVP and was only visible on the ballot once, when he finished second in 1987. That was the year that he hit .303 with an on base percentage of .394, hit 40 doubles, scored 104 runs and had 75 RBI, all career highs. They gave the MVP that year to Andre Dawson, who certainly did not deserve it, but it speaks highly of Ozzie that the voters preferred him to Jack Clark, Tony Gwynn, Tim Raines, and Eric Davis, all of whom had absolutely monstrous years with the bat. That was the only year he was at all close. In the 1986 Baseball Abstract, Bill James wrote with some passion about how Ozzie should have been seriously considered for the 1985 MVP (given to McGee), but the voters did not see it that way at all, Ozzie getting just a few scraps. Palmer and Thorn, by putting numbers to defense, have it quite differently. One can say that any single-season rating above +4.0 is at least an MVP-candidate season. They count Ozzie as having 6 such seasons: 1980, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1987, and 1988. They rank him as a startling +4.8 for San Diego in 1980, when he hit .230 with no home runs and just 23 extra base hits. That's how highly they rate his defense at the time. He led the league once in Palmer-Thorn total value, with a +5.1 in 1988. [The references to Palmer-Thorn are to the version of TPR published in the 1992 edition of Total Baseball.]
   3. OCF Posted: July 09, 2007 at 01:42 AM (#2434239)
12. How many All-Star type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the other players who played in this many go into the Hall of Fame?

Oh, man! Ozzie was a perennial All-Star, a permanent All-Star. He was the single most popular player on the fan balloting many times. This is a little unfair, since the momentum of his popularity won him several elections that by rights belonged to Barry Larkin, but it still tells you something. I think it can safely be said that everyone with that many All-Star games either has been elected to the Hall of Fame or will be.

13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

This one's a little tricky, since the team would have to have some different kinds of hitters than Ozzie (with power) and probably some better hitters than Ozzie - but he could still be the best player. The Cardinals did win pennants in 1985 and 1987, and in hindsight, I now think Ozzie was the best player on those teams.

14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

I think that he did change the game in one respect. He demonstrated that artificial turf had its own properties that could be exploited by an athletically creative fielder to make plays that could not be made otherwise. This change may be ephemeral, since artificial turf appears to be disappearing from the game.

[Long anecdote about a spectacular play made with creative skidding.]

15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

Well, he wasn't Pete Rose. Actually, he had a very positive public image, an image filled with the pure joy of playing the game. He owes a great deal of his popularity around the league to this image. He helped sell the game to the public during a decade in which attendance increased dramatically.

[But in the decade since, he has allowed his resentment of Tony LaRussa bringing in Royce Clayton to replace him harden into to a public feud. That's too bad - he needs to get back to the joy of it all. In non-baseball news, his son appeared as a contestant on American Idol.]

So does Ozzie belong in the Hall of Fame? In my view, absolutely yes. I'm willing to bet that he will be elected, [that bet would have had no takers] and I'm sure that when he is, someone will decry the fact that a .262 lifetime hitter with no power is in the Hall of Fame and someone else, promoting some otherwise submarginal candidate with a .267 lifetime average, will include in his argument that his guy had a better average than Ozzie Smith. You've got to look at the whole picture.
   4. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: July 09, 2007 at 02:35 AM (#2434300)
OCF, I think in fact people did frequently suggest that Ozzie was the best player in baseball, when he was active. He wasn't just rhetorically available; guys who were into analyzing defense in the 1980s often came to the conclusion that Ozzie was saving 60, 70 runs a season with his glove over average, which couldn't help but lead to the conclusion he was the best player in baseball.

Bill James even suggested in the 1988 Abstract that Ozzie was "as valuable, year in and year out, as anybody in the game" (page 5). He eventually settled on Ozzie as the third-best, behind Boggs and Raines but ahead of Mattingly, Gwynn, Clemens, and Henderson.

Was Ozzie actually ever the best player in baseball? He's got a pretty good case in my opinion. How weird is it, by the way, that of the six guys I really think you can make an argument for as the best position player of the mid-to-late 1980s, five of them are leadoff-type hitters? Boggs, Raines, Henderson, Gwynn, Mattingly, Smith... only Don Mattingly is a true power hitter.
   5. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: July 09, 2007 at 02:46 AM (#2434317)
Ooh, I've been waiting for this forever. As a Cardinals' fan, I think Ozzie's a slam dunk, but either way, it should be a good debate.
   6. OCF Posted: July 09, 2007 at 02:56 AM (#2434325)
Le Samouri: the debate is likely to be over the relative ranking of Smith and Trammell. The bigger picture will be that whichever order we have them in, they'll both be elected.
   7. OCF Posted: July 09, 2007 at 03:46 AM (#2434366)
...only Don Mattingly is a true power hitter.

For sure, he wasn't a leadoff hitter. But "true power hitter"? In a study I did of players with approximately 150 RBI in a season, he showed up with one of the three or four lowest slugging percentages. To be exact, he had a .567 SLG in 1985, when most of the ~150 RBI guys had SLG in the mid-.600's. He was a high-average, medium-power guy, a guy with twice as many doubles as home runs.
   8. Chris Fluit Posted: July 09, 2007 at 04:32 AM (#2434412)
[They don't call Adam Everett that, do they? Besides, these days people are looking for the next ARod, Jeter, Nomar, Tejada, aren't they?]

I have heard Everett called "the best defensive shortstop" since Ozzie Smith, but no one who's called him "the next Ozzie" or compared him directly to Ozzie. I think that most upcoming shortstops are compared to the ones you listed but they're all known more for their offensive abilities so a glove-first shortstop like Everett is still compared to Ozzie more than the turn of the century guys.
   9. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 09, 2007 at 01:59 PM (#2434586)
Like I said with Trammell, it's nearly a throw-em in the hopper kind of thing. A question I find more interesting is whether either of them could crack the top 15 among SS all time.

Here's what my system sees. It includes gross adjustments for NgL guys based on MLEs or just on gut where necessary. Players who are currently inelgible for HOM consideration are in brackets.

1. Wagner
2. Lloyd
3. Vaughan
4-t Ripken
4-t Yount
6. Davis
7. HR Johnson
8. Appling
9. Dahlen
10. Cronin
11. Reese
12. Wells
13-t Wright
13-t Banks
[Ward, but this includes pitching too]
15. Glasscock
16. Sewell
17. Wallace
18-t Trammell
18-t Long
20. Jennings
21. Smith

As it turns out, I have questions about where my system ranks out Long and Smith, but I think Trammell/Wallace/Ozzie is a grouping that folks could talk about until the cows come home (or HOM?). They are all bunched in this system and nearly indistinguishable. And Jennings' presence is somewhat controversial as well, since he represents another kind of candidate altogether. Now I'm WS based, and other systems will see it differently, but I'm of the mind that I don't have any large-scale dispute with either Tram or Smith, though the system suggests that Tram is just over and Smith just under the line. Given how much of Ozzie's case depends on defense, I'm comfortable saying that my system may not make quite enough of his glove to be fair to him. Maranville, by contrast, is a couple guys down, but just far enough away that I don't see the defense issue as problematic in my evaluation of him (he couldn't make up enough ground, I think).
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 09, 2007 at 02:08 PM (#2434591)
<bq>The greatest defensive <s>shortstop</s> player I ever saw, bar none. </bq>
   11. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: July 09, 2007 at 03:01 PM (#2434649)
On the mid-late 80's players, I just did a quick poking around. I looked at the top 5 for slugging percentage in each league from 84-89. I don't know what the normal distribution would be, but for this period, nobody made the top 5 more than 3 times. The winners are:

3 times in top 5 - Will Clark, Eric Davis, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Mike Schmidt, Darryl Strawberry
2 times in top 5 - Jesse Barfield, George Bell, Dwight Evans, Gary Gaetti, Fred McGriff, Kirby Puckett

Notes: 4 different players with the last name Davis made the top 5 at least once, and Lonnie Smith had a hell of a fluke season in 1989.

And for contrast, the same list for on-base percentage:

6 times - Wade Boggs (5 straight #1s)
5 times - Tim Raines
4 times - Tony Gwynn, Rickey Henderson
3 times - Jack Clark, Alvin Davis, Eddie Murray
2 times - George Brett, Will Clark, Pedro Guerrero, Keith Hernandez, Mike Schmidt, Dave Winfield

For all the talk about "Jack Clark and 7 leadoff hitters", it was interesting to see Clark in the top 5 in both 85 and 87, with nobody else from the Cardinals.
   12. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2007 at 03:20 PM (#2434671)
<bq>The greatest defensive <s>shortstop</s> player I ever saw, bar none. </bq>

I wouldn't argue against that point, Alex.
   13. Paul Wendt Posted: July 09, 2007 at 03:49 PM (#2434705)
How recently did they call Rey Ordonez they next Ozzie?

you can make an argument for as the best position player of the mid-to-late 1980s, five of them are leadoff-type hitters? Boggs, Raines, Henderson, Gwynn, Mattingly, Smith... only Don Mattingly is a true power hitter.

not a true power hitter, as OCF said
Mattingly's calling card was 200 hits. People presumed that he would get 200 hits "every year". He declined in the late eighties and should be considered a mid-decade candidate, with Cal Ripken and Wade Boggs and Dale Murphy. With recent MVP awards and long careers too, Schmidt and Brett might still have beaten these relative newcomers at the polls after the 1986 season, Mattingly's most likely moment.
   14. OCF Posted: July 09, 2007 at 05:41 PM (#2434815)
One thing that comes up in evaluating Smith is how strange the team statistics were for the Cardinals in 1987, his best offensive year.

The Cardinals were second in the league in runs scored, well above league average offense, with a team OPS+ of 94.

In more detail, the team was:

Near league average in BA (.263 in a slight hitters park in a .261 league.)
Led the league in OBP.
Well below average, 3rd from last, in SLG.

About league average in doubles.
2nd in the league (behind the Phillies) in triples.
Dead last by a substantial margin in HR.
1st in the league in SB by a margin of 50.
But only 4th in CS. (SB-CS was 248-72.)
Scored more runs on the road than at home.

Part of this is efficient linuep construction, with Coleman having his best OPB, and three good OPB's in a row in Coleman, Smith, and Pendleton in front of the one high-OBP home run threat in the lineup (Clark). Followed by a singles-and-doubles hitter (McGee) to help clean up all those runners on base.
   15. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 09, 2007 at 06:28 PM (#2434853)
Quick and curious note.

By a very rough estimation (1B + BB + HPB - SH - .67*(SB+CS)), the Cards had about 61 more DP opps than the average team, leading the league with 1417 opps.

The Cards rapped into 126 DPs, 4th in the NL. En toto, they grounded into a DP in 8.9% of all net opps as I estimated above. They were fifth in the league in DP/opp (only .2 behind fourth place LA). So in a funny way, this part of their offense wasn't remarkable for its ability to avoid outs.

The main offenders (the guys in double figures) were
McGee: 24
Pena: 19
Pendelton: 18
Herr: 12

That's 60% of all GIDPs for the team. McGee led the league, Pena was third, Pendleton fifth.
   16. OCF Posted: July 09, 2007 at 06:39 PM (#2434862)
McGee was batting behind the guy with 130 walks - of course he hd DP opportunities! Pendleton was the one batting behind Ozzie. Ozzie reached base 282 times (182 hits, 89 BB, 1 HBP), reached 2nd on his own 87 times (44 XBH, 43 SB), while subtracting himself from first 9 times via CS. That leaves him on first 186 times, which is a lot.

Ozzie himself only grounded into 9 DP - but he was batting behind Coleman, who wasn't going to stay on first. (That, and Ozzie was a fast switch hitter who didn't hit the ball hard, and they used the sacrifice some with Ozzie at the plate.)
   17. OCF Posted: July 09, 2007 at 06:53 PM (#2434882)
Ozzie was a very old-fashioned hitter. While the thin bat handle revolution was in progress all around him, he stayed with a relatively thick-handled, heavier bat, and he didn't swing it very hard. That made him hard to strike out. He did have tremendous control of the strike zone, but he wasn't ever going to lead the league in walks, just because he gave pitchers no cause to fear him. (I can't hear you, Mr. Niedenfuer.) He was a highly skilled bunter, which increased the motivation to use him to sacrifice - but I don't think he reached all that often while doing that. But it doesn't take all that many sacrifice attempts-become-infield-singles to twist around the run expectations.

There are some things in common between Ozzie's approach at the plate and Tony Gwynn's - differing in that Ozzie didn't have Gwynn's skill set. Gwynn could cover a large fraction of the strike zone and hit whatever he swung at, so had both very few strikeouts and very few walks. There were more pitches that Ozzie couldn't hit, and he didn't try - so he went deeper into counts and drew more walks, but he wasn't able to produce that kind of BA on the balls he did swing at. But he didn't swing and miss much.
   18. Mike Green Posted: July 09, 2007 at 07:13 PM (#2434906)
Ozzie and Trammell were both selected by the Tigers in the 1976 draft. If he had, I wonder what they would have done with Ozzie, Trammell and Whitaker.
   19. Jose Canusee Posted: July 10, 2007 at 12:22 AM (#2435162)
Ozzie and Trammell were both selected by the Tigers in the 1976 draft. If he had, I wonder what they would have done with Ozzie, Trammell and Whitaker. I suppose if Trammell had been a CF all his career no one would consider him a potential HOF/HOMer. Then again, with Tom Brookens at 3rd, maybe he ends up there.
   20. DavidFoss Posted: July 10, 2007 at 12:55 AM (#2435200)
I suppose if Trammell had been a CF all his career no one would consider him a potential HOF/HOMer. Then again, with Tom Brookens at 3rd, maybe he ends up there.

Fun question. Trammell hit well in 1977 at age 19 and Smith was three years older. Trammell likely would have gotten to the bigs first, and Ozzie could have become a AAAA player and the Tigers would've gotten a lot less than Lezcano & Templeton for him.

Brookens was later. Aurelio Rodriguez was at 3B in Detroit at the time, so maybe they would shift Trammell to 3B eventually. 1970s-Ozzie and the original A-Rod would have made an historically all-glove-no-hit left side of the infield!
   21. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: July 10, 2007 at 01:25 AM (#2435231)
How recently did they call Rey Ordonez they next Ozzie?

Handy rule of thumb: if it's only the New York media saying something, the rest of the world ignores it. I don't recall a single person ever saying that Ordonez was the new/next Ozzie.
   22. AJMcCringleberry Posted: July 10, 2007 at 01:45 AM (#2435254)
Like I said with Trammell, it's nearly a throw-em in the hopper kind of thing. A question I find more interesting is whether either of them could crack the top 15 among SS all time.

Here's how my system has it:

1. Wagner
2. Ripken
3. Lloyd
4. Vaughan
5. Yount
6. Banks
7. Davis
8. Dahlen
9. Appling
10. Cronin
11. Larkin
12. Smith
13. Trammell
14. Wells
15. Boudreau
16. Wallace
17. Johnson
18. Reese
19. Sewell
20. Beckwith
21. Glasscock

I didn't make any adjustments to that list, it's just based on the numbers that were spit out.
   23. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 10, 2007 at 01:54 AM (#2435257)
I have heard Everett called "the best defensive shortstop" since Ozzie Smith, but no one who's called him "the next Ozzie" or compared him directly to Ozzie.

Does calling Ozzie the old Everett count, because Dial said this:

If Ozzie Smith was as good as Adam Everett, he was incredible.
   24. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 10, 2007 at 03:54 AM (#2435372)
Ozzie was good as Everett in the field--for about 15 years in a row. He was also twice the hitter that Everett was, and better on the basepaths to boot. That's why Everett is still a marginal player, and Ozzie is a slam-dunk Hall of Famer. (Ozzie's position-adjusted offense is worth just as much as his defense, IMO).
   25. DavidFoss Posted: July 10, 2007 at 04:11 AM (#2435388)
Handy rule of thumb: if it's only the New York media saying something, the rest of the world ignores it. I don't recall a single person ever saying that Ordonez was the new/next Ozzie.

Sportscenter chimed in on this idea as well just around the time when I was watching ESPN the most. I'd say around 1997 or so. Ah... my first cable TV package... :-)

Ordonez did accumulate impressive looking highlights and the hype from those led to three straight Gold Gloves. Now, impressive highlights don't always mean good fielding (positioning and that 'first step' are never caught by the camera) but the "hype" was there. ESPN does talk up the NY & BOS teams too much, but I caught news of the hype on the West Coast.

Hype is just hype though. Everyone is looking for the "next" this or "next" that in first or second year players.

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